The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) – Avi (2004, Harcourt, Inc.)
I positively adore children’s books, especially the whimsical ones that involve clever plots, deft humour, and beautiful writing. The End of the Beginning has all of these things in spades. Avon, a very well-read snail, is concerned that his life is completely bereft of adventure – and he reasons that his entire state of happiness depends on having at least one great adventure like the heroes in his books. To that end, he embarks on his first trip away from home, accompanied by his newfound best friend, Edward, an ant. Their journey is long and very, very, VERY slow (remember, Avon is a snail!), but it certainly doesn’t lack excitement: the two pals encounter a “dragon”, become caretakers of a caterpillar, unpuzzle a worm, sing songs and tell poems…and Avon even engages in a daring joust with another snail. And when their great heroic adventure comes to an end (or is just beginning?), Avon and Edward (and the reader!) realize that maybe – just maybe – life is all about perspective.
Go get this one and read it aloud to a child…both you and the little one deserve it. 🙂